Michigan continued their recruiting roll today by adding three-star Naples (FL) defensive back Sammy Faustin, the fourth BBQ at the Big House visitor to commit since Saturday.
— Sammy Faustin (@Live_Sammy) August 2, 2017
“When they called me, it was like, yeah, doesn't matter to me, it's cool," he said. "They also asked if I'd like to come play at Michigan, like if I'd come play safety, because they're recruiting me as a safety. I was like, yeah, I'll play wherever you need me to play. It doesn't matter to me.”
Faustin is the 13th commit in the 2018 class and the fourth in the defensive backfield, joining fellow lanky CB/S prospects Myles Sims, Gemon Green, and German Green. Brown definitely has a type.
3*, #75 CB,
|3* CB||NR CB||
3*, 86, #74 CB,
3*, #78 CB,
So, yeah, prepare for some comments. Faustin is well off the four-star pace at this point at every site save Rivals, which gives him a 5.7 rating, their highest for three-star prospects. (Somehow this doesn't merit giving him a position ranking.) Scout and 247 have given him cursory three-star ratings, while ESPN—the only site that has an evaluation on him—hasn't bothered to rank him yet.
Every site save ESPN (6'1", 177) lists Faustin at 6'2", 170 pounds. He's built, well, like all of Michigan's other defensive back commits, and like the others should have the versatility to play cornerback or safety.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and the rest.]
There's surprisingly little out there on Faustin given he's from Florida, so let's start with his junior highlights:
The main attribute that jumps out to me is Faustin's football IQ. He has a great sense of where the ball is going and reacts with remarkable quickness. The play at 1:55 is something I'm not sure I've seen from a high school corner: Faustin plays press man, runs his man's route for him, somehow realizes the quarterback is throwing to the next receiver over, and breaks on the ball in time to make a play on it.
He also looks equally comfortable in press man, off man, and zone coverage, which is rare for a high school prospect. Again, his recognition and ability to break on the ball stand out, whether it's a pass, screen, or run—a great trait for a safety. While he's not a forceful hitter, he takes good angles to the ball in the open field and looks like a sure tackler. He looks quite underrated to me as a safety prospect, and he also displays the potential to be a significant contributor on special teams—in addition to solid open-field tackles, he tears off the edge for a couple blocked kicks in that reel.
ESPN has the only full-blown scouting report from any of the four recruiting services:
Strengths: Versatile defender who can play outside and projects as a FS. Shows ball skills and ability to stick his foot to drive on the ball. ... Areas of Improvement: Strength in his tackling, consistency of footwork and leverage in his pedal. Development of more size will benefit the position. ... Bottom Line: FS prospect with ball skills and versatility. Leverages routes effectively and is consistent to make plays. Will need to develop short area burst, balance and base in his pedal and his strength to realize his upside.
Adding strength and refining technique are the main areas of improvement; these are coachable areas. Meanwhile, his coverage skills will translate well to playing safety in Brown's defense, which often requires safeties to play man-to-man in the slot.
Faustin's high school coach, who's admittedly not the most unbiased source, believes he has a future in the NFL:
Naples High School's Hall of Fame head coach has seen dozens of Division I prospects come through his program over the years. He knows rising senior defensive back Sammy Faustin has a chance to be special.
"I don't say this, you've never heard me say this, but he's the guy that can play on Sundays," Kramer said. ...
"When you see the length and the ability to run, we knew there was something special, plus his attitude. He's the sweetest guy. He's a true competitor, but he is a gentleman off the field. God gave him a whole bunch of tools in his tool kit, and I'm proud of him for maximizing it."
SBNation's Bud Elliott was asked about Faustin on Twitter, and while Elliott didn't think he was Florida-FSU-Miami caliber, he made him sound like the ideal Don Brown safety:
yeah he's a good player. if you like bump and blitz he has length to do that or play safety
— Bud Elliott (@BudElliott3) August 2, 2017
It appears opponents largely avoided throwing at Faustin last year, as noted when he was named third-team all-state:
DB — Sammy Faustin, Sr., Naples
Teams stayed away from Faustin, creating opportunities for the rest of the team. Had 31 tackles.
Of Michigan's current defensive back haul, Faustin looks most likely to wind up at safety (it's either him or German Green) and I like his potential there quite a bit.
Faustin holds offers from Arizona, Iowa State, Kentucky, Maryland, NC State, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Purdue, UCF, USF, Virginia, Appalachian State, ECU, FIU, Georgia Southern, and Western Kentucky. Florida has shown interest but has yet to offer.
Naples competes in Florida's 6A classification, the third-largest in the state. They've produced three four-star signees since 2002, most notably former OSU and current San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde, according to the Rivals database.
According to MaxPreps, Faustin recorded 39 tackles (30 solo) with an interception, four passes defensed, a forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries as a junior.
FAKE 40 TIME
Faustin has an unverified 4.63 40 time on his Hudl page, which gets three FAKEs out of five.
Single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Faustin looks like a safety to me, which means he'll likely have the luxury of developing for a couple years behind Josh Metellus, J'Marick Woods, Jaylen Kelly-Powell, and Brad Hawkins before working his way into the rotation. While he could potentially line up at corner, the path the field is tougher at that spot, and Faustin's skill set seems best-suited for safety regardless.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Faustin is the 13th commit in a class that should eventually end up at 20-24 prospects, depending on attrition. Michigan took five defensive backs in the 2017 class, so they can stay put with this group of four unless they can land a top-tier prospect like Josh Jobe or Isaac Taylor-Stuart. They'll continue to recruit targets at RB, WR, TE, OT, DT, and DE.
Here's the class as it currently stands: